I still don't fully understand the benefit these days. But I will avoid ranting any more here. If you want to find out who to direct your rant to it was a certain Mr Willett.
Meanwhile, how do you cope this weekend when, not only have the children been off school for the Easter holidays - and presumably allowed to stay up a little later in the vain hope they might give you a lie in - but you also need to adjust their body clock back the other way in time for school's return?
My daughters (age 6 and 4) went to bed at 9.30pm last night. It was a rare treat as we had friends round. They loved it and had a great time. They woke up slightly later than their usual 6am, but not much. They are tired today. I'll have to try and get them to bed earlier tonight and hope that they are tired enough to settle at their usual time of 7.30pm. I very much suspect that I will struggle though, and it'll be closer to 8.30pm.
But after tomorrow I will need to get them to be tired enough to go to bed an hour earlier again! It makes my head hurt just thinking about it. A least this time they won't be waking at 4.30am like they do when we put the clocks back again in November! At least I hope not.
Losing an hour's sleep
Once we put the clocks forward an hour tomorrow evening, the girls bodies will think it's 7.30pm, but it will actually be 8.30pm on the clock. So, to get them back to normal bedtime I need to con their body into going to sleep at what they think is 6.30pm. No easy task.
Why bother doing anything?
If I don't do anything, by the time they go back to school they'll be going to bed late and waking up late. I'll be trying to wake a child at 6am to get ready for school, and their body will think it's 5am. It won't be pretty.
A phased approach
The only way to cope with this annual confusion is to try and ease their bedtimes closer to the new times in a phased way, whilst also trying to factor in holiday treats.
As if us parents didn't have enough juggling to do!
You may be thinking, well they'll go to sleep when they are tired surely? Er, no. As adults we are bad enough at staying up late even when we know we are tired. How can we expect children, who don't want to miss anything, to take themselves off to bed at the most appropriate point?
Children are much more likely to get "past it" and "overtired" and then you have a bolshy, tearful, exhausted child that can't settle to sleep, on your hands.
So, what do we do again?
Try and slowly adjust bedtime over the next few days. The clocks will have jumped forward an hour, but your children will still be on old time, so let them be. Each night try and shift everything by 10 minutes or so, towards the new times.
Usual tea time of 5pm will suddenly be at 6pm, because that's when the children will be hungry (their bodies think its 5pm, but the clock weirdly says different). Let the dinner and bedtime routine fall at these apparently later times for a few days, then bring it slowly back to the "proper" time.
Some people say you can just "do it" all in one quick move. But I have tried that and it appears to disorientated the children. They get hungry and tired at the "wrong" times and then are confused.
Remember, it's a little bit like jet lag, but without the benefit of a holiday!